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Sweet and Sour Meatballs

These sweet and sour meatballs will have everyone’s mouths watering!

Meatballs are a universal crowd-pleaser. Kids adore them and adults can’t resist their meaty deliciousness. Plus, they’re just plain fun to eat.

Delicious and Meaty Sweet and Sour Meatballs
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Sweet and Sour Meatballs

But what sets these sweet and sour meatballs apart is the unforgettable sauce. It’s the star of the show! It’s sticky and sweet, with a punch of sourness that’s just irresistible.

These bites make the perfect party appetizer. Just stick them with a toothpick and they’re ready to go!

They’re made with ground beef, breadcrumbs, chopped onions, and a few simple seasonings. And the best part? They’re super simple to make. 

Mix them up and shape them into perfectly round balls. Then, cook them in a large skillet. It’s as easy as that.

To make it extra thick and glossy, mix in a little bit of cornstarch. Pour the sauce over the cooked meatballs in the skillet. Let it simmer until it’s thick and delicious.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs - Ground Beef, Onions, Egg, Brown Sugar, Ketchup, Vinegar, Soy Sauce and Corn Starch

How to Make Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Here are the basic steps on how to make them:

  1. Mix the beef and spices. Place the ground beef, breadcrumbs, chopped onion, egg, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Mix everything together until well combined.
  2. Form the meatballs. Divide the mixture and shape it into 1 1/2-inch diameter meatballs. 
  3. Cook the meatballs. In a large nonstick skillet, cook the meatballs over medium heat until they’re evenly browned and fully cooked through.
  4. Prepare the sauce. In a medium bowl, mix together the brown sugar, water, ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce, and cornstarch until smooth.
  5. Finish the dish. Pour the sauce over the cooked meatballs in the skillet and reduce the heat to low. Allow the sauce to simmer until it thickens, about 3 to 5 minutes.
A Bowl of Sweet and Sour Meatballs Covered with Sauce

Tips for the Best Meatballs

Here are a few tips to help you make the best meatballs possible:

  • Watch the fat. Use ground beef with a high fat content. This will help keep the meatballs moist and flavorful.
  • Swap out the meat. If you prefer leaner meat, 90% lean ground beef works well. But you can also try using ground turkey or pork. 
  • Brown the meat first. If you’re using fattier beef, brown the meatballs first and drain off the excess fat.
  • Use a binder. Use dry breadcrumbs as a binder for the meatballs. This helps hold the meatballs together and adds texture.
  • Don’t overmix the meatball mixture. It will result in tough meatballs. Simply mix everything together until well combined.
  • Use a nonstick skillet for cooking the meatballs. This will help prevent the meatballs from sticking to the pan and make for an easier clean-up.
  • Cook them thoroughly. Be sure the meatballs are cooked all the way through before adding the sauce. This will help ensure that the meatballs are safe to eat.
  • Mince your onion finely. To avoid large chunks of onion in the meatballs, finely mince the onion or consider grating it.
  • Size matters. The size of the meatballs is up to you, but a 1 1/2-inch diameter is a good starting point. Make them bigger or smaller depending on your preference.
  • Take a shortcut. If you’re short on time, pre-cooked frozen meatballs will do the trick. But homemade meatballs taste best.
  • Make them ahead. These meatballs can be cooked up to 2 days in advance. Or, you can make a double batch and freeze some for later use.
  • Ensure all of the meatballs are the same size. Use a scoop, tablespoon measure, or melon baller to portion the meat and shape the balls.
  • Add a garnish. For an extra burst of flavor and a touch of color, try adding some parsley to the meatball mixture. And sprinkle some on top of the finished dish.
Sweet and Sour Meatballs in a Bowl with Parsley

Can You Freeze the Meatballs?

Yes, you can definitely freeze the meatballs! In fact, this is a great way to meal prep for the week. 

To freeze the meatballs, cook them according to the recipe instructions. Then, allow them to cool completely.

Place the cooled meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and place them in the freezer. Freeze the meatballs for about 2 hours or until they’re solid.

Once the meatballs are frozen, transfer them to an air-tight container. Label the bag or container with the date and the contents.

You can freeze the meatballs with or without the sauce. Thaw them in the refrigerator overnight or cook them directly from frozen. 

Reheat them in the slow cooker or on the stovetop. Or, add the frozen meatballs to a skillet with some oil. Cook over medium heat until they’re heated through.

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Keep in mind the sauce will have a thinner consistency after thawing. 

If you prefer a thicker sauce, add a tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with two tablespoons of cold water. Simmer it until it thickens.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Servings

5

servings
Prep time

5

minutes
Cooking time

15

minutes
Calories

601

kcal

These sweet and sour meatballs are perfect for any party! With just a few simple steps, you’ll have an appetizer everyone will love.

Ingredients

  • Meatballs:
  • 1 pound ground beef

  • 1 cup dry breadcrumbs

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 1 egg

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Sweet and Sour Sauce:
  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 1 cup water

  • 1/2 cup ketchup

  • 1/2 cup vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Instructions

  • Combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, chopped onion, egg, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl until everything is well mixed. Form the mixture into 1 and a 1/2-inch diameter balls.
  • In a large nonstick skillet, cook the meatballs over medium heat until they are browned evenly and fully cooked through.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the brown sugar, water, ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce, and cornstarch until smooth.
  • Pour the sauce over the cooked meatballs in the skillet, then reduce the heat to low.
  • Allow the sauce to simmer until it thickens, about 3 to 5 minutes. Then, serve and enjoy!
Sweet and Sour Meatballs

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

2 thoughts on “Sweet and Sour Meatballs”

  1. I’m planning on making the sauce for this with a 2 lb bag of frozen meatballs I have. I was wondering how much sauce this makes, so I can adjust for the amount I’ll need, if at all.

    Reply
    • Hi Dani, it’s such a great idea to take a shortcut with frozen meatballs! This recipe makes enough sauce for 1 pound of homemade meatballs. So if you double it, that should be enough!

      Reply

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